S. River coach faces hearing over practice

Drills with Arundel CC may lead to reprimand


High Schools

January 24, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The South River girls basketball team was wrapping up a practice earlier this month when players from Anne Arundel Community College came by to have a practice of their own with their gym floor unavailable.

South River coach John Wardell figured it would be worthwhile to stay around with his team for a few extra minutes and run some drills with the college players.

What he didn't know at the time was that he was breaking a state athletic rule, as first reported by the Washington Post in yesterday's editions.

According to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state handbook, high school graduates are not allowed to practice with or participate on interscholastic sports teams.

Graduated players are allowed to demonstrate to the high school athletes instruction in a clinic mode, but are not allowed to actually run any hands-on drills directly with any players.

Wardell will have a hearing before the county's board of arbitration tentatively set for Tuesday to address the alleged violation.

"It was something that I had seen done in the past, heard it being done in the past and to be quite honest, I didn't think it was any big deal," said Wardell, in his second season. "It was closer to a clinic/practice that it was anything else. We showed each other a couple things, did a few things and the end result, once we called and found out we're not allowed to do this, I was the first to admit I broke the rule."

The school's athletic department went to the county's supervisor of athletics, Marlene Kelly, who said the matter will now be turned over to the county's arbitration committee headed by Ken Nichols.

The reprimand on a coach for violating the rule can go through up to four stages: from censure; to declaring the coach ineligible for the current school year in the sport in which the violation occurred; to declaring the coach ineligible to coach any team in any sport for the current year; or imposing additional penalties as seen justified based on the severity of the situation.

Wardell said he had no previous knowledge of the rule and "I don't think a lot of the schools and coaches are aware of this rule."

He added: "My take on this is if this brings [the rule] out in the open and all the schools are aware, my only concern now is how do you enforce this?"

Kelly said all head coaches are given a copy of the state handbook at every preseason meeting with additional photocopies of the rules portion also handed out to be given to assistant and volunteer coaches.

Chesapeake flexes

The Chesapeake wrestling team further established itself as the team to beat in the county with Tuesday's 49-24 win over Severna Park.

Both teams came into the match undefeated in county action with the No. 7 Cougars (6-5 overall) staying that way at 5-0. The No. 10 Falcons (5-3 and 5-1 in the county) may still have a say, but their loss opens the door a little wider for No. 9 Old Mill.

Like last year, the Patriots (7-0, 4-0) will meet Chesapeake in the final dual meet match of the regular season on Feb. 7.

"I don't know if the people who make out the schedule know it, but it looks like it may come down to it a second straight year," said Chesapeake coach Rex Miller, whose Cougars captured the Class 4A-3A state championship last season.

Facing tough out-of-state competition and top-ranked Mount St. Joseph earlier in the season apparently has paid off for the Cougars, who are led by 119-pounder Corey Bowers and 189-pounder Chad LaPlanche.

Falcons girls a step ahead

Midway through the county schedule, the Severna Park girls basketball team is finding some separation from the rest of a talented pack.

The top five public schools in the county are ranked in The Sun's Top 20 poll.

The No. 6 Falcons, with a balanced attack on offense and constant attack on defense, are 11-2 overall and are the only undefeated team left in county play at 7-0.

The surprise team is No. 20 Annapolis, which is 7-2 overall and tied for second in the county with No. 10 Arundel (9-3) at 5-1. No. 12 Chesapeake (9-3, 5-2) is the veteran team that remains dangerous, and No. 16 Meade (9-4, 5-2) is a young team getting better and better.

South River (8-5, 4-3) could still have a say.

For the Falcons, who are still without standout forward Julia Waters (mononucleosis), it's been a case of everybody chipping in. Guard Lauren Hall leads the team in scoring at 12 points per game.

"It's been a bit of a rocky road, but we've hung in there and played tough," said Severna Park coach Bill Giblin. "We've been fortunate that every night somebody has stepped up their game and contributed with a little extra on a particular night. It's all added up."

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